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Written by Mullet on Monday, 7th Aug 2017 10:26
That "drive” Mick referred to on Saturday night, was clearly the one from north of the wall not outside his house if today’s news regarding the impending signing of Martyn Waghorn from Rangers is to be believed.
While some fans north of civilisation found glee in Town “losing out to Bury” over Harry Bunn, and some of us lamented it, this latest move offers a very different proposition for Ipswich.
Firstly, if the figure of around £1 million is correct, then Marcus Evans’s policy remains consistent but perhaps the pressure applied in the past week or so means a few of these bids have been going in. Waghorn is about as McCarthy a name as anyone can think of, yet I saw it mentioned only once early last week.
While Town won their opening fixture, and with a decent amount of effort and resilience, we looked a lightweight still and Waghorn will undoubtedly address that. Another Rangers player their fans seem sniffy about, another slightly smaller than 6ft bustling backline bruiser, but he can play a bit.
A few hundred of us will remember his late goal at Wigan on a Monday night where we saw Conor Sammon and Luke Hyam score for Town. You’d be forgiven for thinking something might have been in the air for normally goal-shy players but Waghorn has been around and where he’s been he’s contributed.
There would also be those looking at Waghorn scoring at close range at 1min 56 secs and thinking we’re back into recruiting players who hit the post or more against us. It’s just taken Mick to go all the way back to early 2014 to find someone who’d sign then. Alternatively, like Bunn, Waghorn might have been name Joe Garner gave to him.
However, given last season’s quick descent and demoralising lack of cohesion it might be wise to bring in a player with some presumed understanding with this weekend’s goalscorer.
It’s clear Garner is a streetwise addition and Waghorn is equally adept at 'mixing it' without perhaps that nasty streak. Roy Keane heaped praise on him as a youngster at Sunderland after his hat-trick exploits against Norwich in the FA Youth Cup began a goalscoring run. However, he only made half a dozen appearances at the Stadium of Light and parted from them and our former manager fairly soon.
One player who might be looking over their shoulder is Freddie Sears. It was a few months after that goal for Wigan that Freddie joined Town and enjoyed his real purple patch in front of goal. A couple of years later and he was guilty of a bad miss this weekend.
Waghorn is a different animal but occupies that role of striker-cum-wideman and has averaged one in five at this level even at clubs like Leicester who he made roughly 100 appearances for and again opened his account for the club against the Canaries on the way to being their young Player of the Year in his first full season. Derby day is looking up already thanks to this potential addition, he’s got form.
From a tactical point of view Waghorn offers what you’d expect or fear depending on your current view of McCarthy’s promotion/mid-table through pragmatism approach. He can partner Garner and give us two very physical and difficult to handle strikers. While the reel of his time at Rangers highlights perhaps the gulf in quality of opposition up in Scotland, it’s clear to see that if Waghorn offers half of his 28-goal tally here, he’d be a massive success.
That left foot is not just adept at penalties but still able to get off a decent drive across goal. Indeed, Waghorn likes to drop off his defender with back to goal and turn his way into shooting. It’s something that Ipswich haven’t often done for a long time. Even if he finds the chances fewer or the keepers better sighted to palm such efforts, the chances for rebounds and mistakes are the kind of areas we might improve upon anyway.
Those at the 6-0 drubbing by Leicester in Mick’s early days might recall Waghorn cutting in from the right wing and firing a shot allowed Nugent to score off Stephen Henderson's stop. He also bagged their fifth goal that day and was perhaps the less eye-catching member of an attack that absolutely taught us a lesson. His assists and movement setting up and securing space for many of the half dozen we conceded.
If the 3-5-2 of Saturday was a surprise present for many from Mick, then adding Waghorn reaffirms the potential to play as many variations of one, two and three up top as possible. Unlike Garner I‘m not sure if he has the sort of game to be a lone striker effectively, but off the shoulder of his former colleague, Waghorn offers a reasonable option as well as a more combative alternative to either channel.
As we saw after just one game a reminder how physical this league can be for those younger or frailer than a player this robust. One Rangers tweet refers to him as “a fridge” which is presumably not a compliment.
While it’s fair to say many fans either side of the English border both those losing 'Hornywag' and those at Sunderland who were this time last week dreading his return were not complimentary in the main; if Simon Grayson fancied him for the type of job he has on his hands up in Sunderland you can immediately leap to why Mick would too.
Promotion to the Premier League already achieved years ago, he’s been away and around the game long enough that at 27 in a market where £1 million seems to be less than small change, he’s the sort of player that could bring about enough of them here to have an impact.
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